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TerrainAngel

Breeding In Todays Market

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So I have been reading things about breeding and peoples' thoughts on the change, even the statistics of that change. Did you know that there are at least 100,000 mares not in production? Or that there have been around 30,000 fewer horses registered each year with AQHA? Or that other registries are seeing those number as well?

Here is a quote from an article I read "?When people deliberately cut breeding, what happens to the sudden influx of broodmares with no jobs? How do we keep them from turning into another layer of unwanted horses? How does a breed retain its genetic diversity when breeding choices narrow to a select group of stallions?many of them related? How do young stallions, and even young mares, get the chance to prove themselves and create desirable lines for the future? How do we know we aren?t creating the end of the middle-class horse, by encouraging more breeding to the top specialized stallions?"

If you would like to read this article: Special Report: Horse Breeding Today

There was also an article in my horse & rider magazine where this lady talked about how the change in the breeding of horses has been the down fall of the industry and horse prices. Although I don't agree completely one thing I did agree with is that a lot of people now no longer want to show and promote their own stallions, making it a very limited pool for horse people to choose from. Most people don't want to put in the work.

So I guess, what are your thoughts? Have you seen a very big change? Does this affect your plans to breed? If any of you had a business related to breeding your horses what are you doing now?

Do you think that its only right that people continue to leave only top stallions for breeding? Do you think people should not try and promote a young stallion or mare and try to make something of him/her?

I thought since this was the breeding board I'd start the topic here. I'd love to know what everyone thinks on the subject!

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I think only the best of the best should be bred myself.

That said, even 2 stellar horses can still produce a so-so horse. That's why large breeders have several mares and stallions and do different combinations to see what works. They research the lines and the abilities of their horses and breed accordingly. The goal is to improve the breed, for the offspring to be better than it's parents.

So if you have a breeder that used to breed 100 horses and out of that 100 horses, 5 of them were what the breeder deemed exceptional and keeps to promote, then you would have 95 "culls". However, a cull to Bob Avilla or Bobby Ingersoll or one of the other top names out there certainly would NOT be a cull to 95% of the horse owners out there. That is where the majority of the people get their horses that don't do the big shows, either because of lack of money, desire, time or whatever. Those other 95 horses will often go on to win at local shows, regional open shows or be good family mounts, ranch horses, whatever.

Now, that same breeder might only breed 10 horses because of the market. And out of 10, he might have 2 that are exceptional to him, which only leaves 8 for the rest of us. That's where we are going to see the trickle down effect in the coming years.

I have a stallion who has good conformation, a nice pedigree, own son of Skip N Stage, an AQHA Super Horse and a good disposition and well broke. But he was never shown, never campaigned. However, the market we were after is the ranch horse prospect, a tough, gritty, all day kind of horse big enough and stout enough to hold a cow for doctoring and with the stamina to riding 30 mile rounds. So you want a big soggy mare with some good cow lines for the job. We produced Jake with our stallion and a mare of ours that is King Fritz and Docs Dee Bar bred. Cow and speed, combined with the Skipper W and Doc Tari lines for stamina and bulk as well as grit. Jake is 6 and the last horse we bred for. Because of the market. I do have a Hancock mare that placed high in the NFQHA cow classes when she was young and a King Fritz/Nu Bars Bueno mare that has WP points. Both are well broke and good tempered mares. I also have a mare that I gave to my niece in law that is also well bred and good natured. My stallion is 18 this year so he still has a few years to produce me some babies if there is ever a market again!

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Breeding, at the top anyway, is always such a fad thing IMO. Whatever lines or type wins this year will have everyody clamoring for a similar breeding next year. Nevermind long-term soundness, temperment or things that are important to riders like me that don't car if the horse can win at the breed level.

There will never be money in "middle class" breeding but there is great satisfaciton in producing a well-rounded, sound, gentle animal that can do pretty much anything. My FIL has bred apps for about 40 years. He stopped two years ago more because of his advancing age than because of the market. He did not breed to make money, he bred because he loves horses, apps in particular. He has enough good pasture that not selling his foals was not a huge concern other than he hated seeing them not being used and enjoyed by somebody. When he decided not to breed anymore he started giving horses away! We had about 80 when this started and we are now down to about 30. Many horses were given away and the rest were sold. He keeps up with the horses that he sells or gives away as much as possible. He just enjoys seeing the horses enjoyed and has been known to buy hay for people that have horses and enjoy them but can no longer afford to keep them. This economy really sucks for those people.

I have not noticed a huge decrease in foals produced by the top show barns, regardless of discipline. There are trainers/breeders that are saying, "don't stop breeding, the market will improve and you will not have horses to sell if you don't breed", and "now is the time to improve/increase your broodies and buy potential top sires as the smaller breeders get out". I think that Bob Avilla was one of those. I have noticed a lot of smaller (smaller not lesser) breeders that are only breeding to order and having the foal sold before it is ever conceived. I see this with mini breeders in this area as well as QH, paint and TBs.

My opinion about AI and embryo transfer is that both are bad for breeding in the long run even though they open up oportunities for some breeders to either concentrate a bloodline or get a better cross tha is available locally. These two processes also reduce the gene pool by making those concentrated breedings affordable and the current "fad horse" can be mutiplied at an alarming rate! My opinion stems from my dislike for so many "types" of the same breed of horse. I miss the days that I could look at a horse and guess it's breed/breeding. Now I can't tell a QH from a TB let alone guess how the animal is bred. I suppose it's not all bad but I am too old fashioned in my thinking to accept all this change gracefully. I LIKED being able to tell what breed an animal was.

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i think its unwise (putting it nicely) to bred in this economy. there is never going to be a shortage of horses to choose from, thats just stupid. ive tried to read the article about the lady who thinks a.i. has made the down fall of the market and i want to bang my head against a wall. my guess is she has a @#$&! stud and is mad that smart people would rather spend their money on a better stud. can you tell im a little pissy about this? lol! i still feel that like in Europe there needs to be a commity of pro.s that decide who has the right and the goods to reproduce, even have room for grade horses. i see so many nice horses that just are not selling right now and yet i see threads of people excited about breeding multiple mares, and to crappy studs none the less. it just beyond my understanding.

Edited by fastfilly79

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